Charles R. Swindoll
I have been reading Charles Swindoll for 30 years now and he never disappoints me. As he writes in his introduction: “So, you want to be like Christ? Me, too. But that kind of godliness won’t happen by hanging around a church or thinking lofty thoughts three or four times a day or learning a few verses of Scripture. It will take more–much more. Disciplining ourselves will require the same kind of focused thinking and living that our Master modeled during His brief life on earth.”
Rev. Swindoll defines the eight essentials we need to practice as:
- Intimacy: Deepening Ours Lives
- Simplicity: Uncluttering Our Minds
- Silence and Solitude: Slowing Our Pace
- Surrender: Releasing Our Grip
- Prayer: Calling Out
- Humility: Bowing Low
- Self-Control: Holding Back
- Sacrifice: Giving Over
As he states: “Notice that the first four disciplines have to do with getting rid of something, creating room in your life. The next four contribute vitality and authenticity to your spiritual life….Of course there are many other disciplines we could consider. And we could credibly argue for a shorter or longer list. I don’t claim to have the definitive path to intimacy with the Almighty. But I can say that after forty years of ministry, having prescribed these to others and having applied them to my own life, these eight disciplines fall into the category of essentials. Cultivate these disciplines, and your relationship with the Lord will flourish. More significantly, these will become paths that will lead you to becoming more like Christ.”
He has included several poems and/or quotations that are old and familiar to me.
For Simplicity: Uncluttering Our Minds:
“One ship drives east and another drives west
With the selfsame winds that blow.
Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales
Which tells us the way to go.
Like the winds of the sea are the ways of fate,
As we voyage along through life:
“Tis the set of a soul
That decides its goal.
And not the calm or the strife.” Ella Wheeler Wilcox
For Silence and Solitude: Slowing Our Pace
“May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the Kingdom like children in the market place, chattering about everything, but pausing to learn the value of nothing.” A.W. Tozer
For Surrender: Releasing Our Grip
“When grace changes the heart, submission out of fear changes to submission out of love, and true humility is born” William Hendriksen
From Sacrifice Giving Over:
In this chapter, Rev. Swindoll writes a very personal account of his coming to the Lord while he was miserable in the Marine Corps in 1958. He read a book his brother had given him that night of 5 missionaries who had died while spreading the Word to the Aucas tribe. One of the missionaries’s wife, Jim Elliott, wrote the book, Through Gates of Splendor, after Jim’s death. The quotation for this chapter on sacrifice is from Jim Elliott: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.”
The sacrifices suggested are: to become a living, breathing sacrifice–personal sacrifice, relational sacrifice, and financial sacrifice.